picture of face that appears to be ripped apart

How we fall apart / Katie Zhao

In a YA thriller that is Crazy Rich Asians meets One of Us is Lying, students at an elite prep school are forced to confront their secrets when their ex-best friend turns up dead.

Nancy Luo is shocked when her former best friend, Jamie Ruan, top-ranked junior at Sinclair Prep, goes missing, and then is found dead. Nancy is even more shocked when word starts to spread that she and her friends–Krystal, Akil, and Alexander–are the prime suspects, thanks to “the Proctor,” someone anonymously incriminating them via the school’s social media app.

They all used to be Jamie’s closest friends, and she knew each of their deepest, darkest secrets. Now, somehow the Proctor knows them, too. The four must uncover the true killer before The Proctor exposes more than they can bear and costs them more than they can afford, like Nancy’s full scholarship. Soon, Nancy suspects that her friends may be keeping secrets from her, too.

From the author:

With HOW WE FALL APART, I hope to entertain readers with an edge-of-your-seat thriller story that offers an inside look at an Asian American upbringing; but beneath the surface, this story raises questions about the structure of our hyper-competitive school environments, strict upbringings, racial identity, the model minority myth, and the sacrifices we make to maintain the narrative and image of immigrant success–which may or may not be worth it, in the end.

What others are saying:

“Katie Zhao’s absorbing slice of dark academia combines a murder mystery with a vivid exploration of challenges faced by Asian American students under relentless pressure to succeed.”

“One of the best mysteries I’ve read this year…”

Available in Teen Fiction.

JJ: May 23, 2022

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